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Under the Radar

Haiti needs a “System Change”

 

Secretary General Meets with the Prime Minister of Haiti  From left to right: Evans Paul, Prime Minister of Haiti Luis Almagro, OAS Secretary General   Date: September 17, 2015 Place: Washington, DC Credit: Juan Manuel Herrera/OAS

Secretary General Meets with the Prime Minister of Haiti From left to right: Evans Paul, Prime Minister of Haiti, Luis Almagro, OAS Secretary General / Credit: Juan Manuel Herrera/OAS

By Max A. Joseph Jr.

Unlike most Haitians trying to make sense of the wretched state of affairs in Haiti, I sincerely believe that the western-style democracy being imposed by force or coercion on the beleaguered country is ultimately responsible. Indeed, the reality speaks for itself. As long as the international community remains committed to that objective with a messianic zeal, the long-suffering Haitian people should expect more of the same. That, this particular brand western-style democracy centers on the neo-colonialist attitude of “Trust us, we know what is best for you,” makes it all the more unpleasant to a nation created out of resistance to oppression. Is there a solution to this nightmarish reality or should Haitians resign themselves to this unpleasant fate?

Western-style democracy is far from being the ultimate form of participatory system of government, as its supporters would want others to believe. Moreover, it is not, by any stretch of anyone’s imagination, universally cherished or easily adaptable to many societies, particularly those with deficient administrative structures. For that reason wherever the administrative structures inherent to its effective implementation are markedly absent, western-style democracy becomes a destabilizing force that fuels social dysfunction and political anarchy. Nevertheless its supporters remain adamantly committed to force-feed it to the rest of the world, although the notion it is “the universal remedy” to social instability and economic backwardness has been debunked or cannot be irrefutably proven.

In structurally-deficient Haiti, for example, the concept apparently develops into an impractical political system that is a cross between manageable anarchy and chronic instability. It fosters a culture of unaccountability that straddles every sector of Haitian society, be it the domineering and repugnant economic elite, the immature and apathetic political class or the impoverished and resilient masses. Every Haitian genuinely wants an end to the current impasse that is destroying the fabric of their society, yet no one is really interested in formulating a matter-of-fact solution, which would require everyone to function under well-established rules.

Members of Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) take possession the newly arrived electoral material. The United Nations Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) works with members of Haiti's Provisionary Electoral Council (CEP) to gather and transport voter’s ballots from around Haiti to the capital, Port au Prince for tabulation. Photo Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH

Members of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) take possession the newly arrived electoral material. The United Nations Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) works with members of Haiti’s Provisionary Electoral Council (CEP) to gather and transport voter’s ballots from around Haiti to the capital, Port au Prince for tabulation.
Photo Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH

The most shameful aspect of the situation in Haiti is the frequency by which the same unfortunate events keep recurring over and over. Case in point: the inevitable political crises that have become a to-be-expected fixture in every electoral cycle. These crises, which originate with the failure of successive governments to create the constitutionally-mandated Permanent Electoral Council, known by its Kréyol and French acronyms KEP and CEP, are a testament to the structural deficiencies of the Haitian state.

This careless attitude toward one of the most significant articles of the Haitian constitution sums up the anarchistic tendencies of the political class and the connivance of special interests that benefit from this lawlessness. Had a Permanent Electoral Council been set up, as stipulates in article 191 of the 1987 Constitution, instead of a provisional one, these electoral crises, which obviously include the 2011 infamous intervention of the international community, might not have occurred. What would it take for the political class to understand that any law enacted by parliament or a presidential decree does not supersede an article of the constitution? A divine intervention perhaps or a total rejection of the present system could be the only way out of their innate aversion to following established covenants.

The status quo, it appears, is being protected because its dissolution will not only bring the destruction of special interests but also usher the introduction of a political system based on the rule of law in Haiti. Good governance is defined by trials and errors, not repetitive blunders. It is obvious that whatever is being implemented or promoted in Haiti, i.e. western-style democracy, does not and could work because of the structural deficiencies of the state and a cultural affinity with lawlessness and unaccountability. How many more of these flawed elections the country needs to finally get a grasp of this foreign-imposed political system that is threatening our very existence?

Given that a state is an administrative entity, builds and governs by humans, the notion of Haiti being a “failed state” is utterly disingenuous. The correct meaning of the label, which serves as a basis of the occupation of the country by the world self-appointed nation-builders in 2004, is that the nation itself is a failure, meaning Haitians are either too incompetent or inexperienced to be left in charge of this complex human creation. While most Haitians, consider the occupation an abomination; the occupiers see it as an altruistic endeavor. Making matters worse, the infantile or possibly calculated behavior of the political class is conferring credibility to the occupiers’ nonsense. Our unique history and identity preclude subservience to any geopolitical realities, which historically, come and go. The only sensible solution to our present challenge is a system change.

Nations are distinct entities created around homegrown ideals. At this juncture, nothing defines Haitians and Haiti besides the common language and geographical area. As a nation needing to be liberated, Haitians do have a legitimate cause to rally against, but currently lack any core values to galvanize them into actions. The destiny of the country and that of its people has been jeopardized, because of the actions of those entrusted to look after it. This has got to stop because our very existence as a nation is being questioned by antagonistic neighbors and the international community, while the political class, subservient to the repugnant and apathetic elite, remains oblivious to that unsettling reality.

Jan. 07, 2016

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